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In Sorrow Without Shame

Elizabeth Bell (1821-?)

A house servant from Lancashire, Elizabeth Bell was sentenced to transportation for ‘stealing money from the person’. Already she had served two months in prison for stealing an umbrella.

The year after she arrived Elizabeth absconded for a night, and was sentenced to ‘three months at the wash tub’, at the Cascades Female Factory. And there were further charges like insolence, misconduct, and being out after hours.

In 1847 Elizabeth was given permission to marry Charles Harris, a free man, but no marriage took place. Nine months later another application was made, for Elizabeth to marry William Crabtree, and they wed three weeks later. In 1850 daughter Harriet was born. Also that year Elizabeth received her free certificate. In 1852 Elizabeth and Harriet sailed steerage to Melbourne. There is no record of them returning, though a second daughter, Mary Ann, was born back in Morven in 1855.

At age 20 Elizabeth Bell sailed to Van Diemen’s Land on the Rajah.  Like most of the women on that voyage, Elizabeth could not read or write.  But together the 180 convicted women created an exquisite patchwork quilt from 2,815 pieces of fabric.
At age 20 Elizabeth Bell sailed to Van Diemen’s Land on the Rajah. Like most of the women on that voyage, Elizabeth could not read or write. But together the 180 convicted women created an exquisite patchwork quilt from 2,815 pieces of fabric.

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